from What Tommy Did by Emily Huntington Miller

The next day must have been Wednesday, but Tommy did not remember much about it, for long before moning he began to feel very sick. He had bad dreams. First he thought an elephant picked him up with his long, crooked finger, and tucked him away in one corner ofhis big mouth, and Tommy felt very hot and uncomfortable in there. And then he thought he had swallowed the elephant, and found him very cold and heavy, and altogether too large for his quarters. And the next Tommy knew, his mamma was standing by his crib, with a lamp in her hand, looking very anxious, and that set Tommy to crying. He cried so long and so loud that Uncle Jim came to see what was the matter. Uncle Jim looked very sleepy; said he guessed Tommy would be all right in the morning; most likely he had eaten something. Now that was one of Uncle Jim’s aggravating ways; whenever Tommy was sick, he alwasy insisted it was because he had “eaten something, as if boys were not always eating something. When he had said this he felt as if he had done his whole duty, and went back to bed contentedly; but Tommy’s mamma soothed, and petted, and fussed over him until morning, when she told Uncle Jim that, in her opinion, Tommy was a very sick boy, and must have the doctor at once. Uncle Jim finished his breakfast and then went into the bedroom chewing his tooth-pick. He sat down by the bed and took Tommy on his knee.

“Well, sir,” said he briskly, “are you going to the city with me, to-day?”

Tommy tried to smile, but he only sneezed five times in succession.

“My dear child! where’s your handkerchief?” exclaimed Uncle Jim, groping about in a bewildered fashion, as if he supposed little boys had half a dozen pockets in their nightgowns, and carried handkerchiefs in them all. Mamma rushed to the resuce, but, by that time, Uncle Jim had solved the difficulty by wiping Tommy’s nose with the corner of the white counterpane.

“It’s only a cold,” he said, putting him back in bed; “but if it will be any satisfaction to you, I’ll hav the doctor come around and look at him. I wouldn’t worry about him, though.”

As if the dear little woman could help it!

Doctor Smith was out of town, so Uncle Jim sent Doctor Brown, a very pompous individual, but quite good natured. He looked at Tommy, and Tommy’s mamma watched him very suspiciously. He looked at his tongue, and felt of his pulse, then rubbed his hands together and asked,

“Has he eaten anything to disagree with him, madam?”

Not a thing,” said Mrs. Bancroft positively. “I’m very particular about his diet.”

Then the doctor looked closely at Tommy’s face, which was quite red and blubbery, partly with the cold and partly with crying so much; he looked behind his ears and under his chin; lifted the yellow hair from his neck, and said,

“Hm–m; has your son ever had the measles, madam?”

“Never,” said Mrs. Bancroft, faintly.

“Then he has them now, madam,” said the doctor blandly; “a very clear case, and coming out finely.” And he nodded his head at Tommy as if was a delightful thing to have the measles.

Then they all went out, but presently the doctor came back with a spoonvul of nice, red jelly, and said,

“Here, my little man, is something very nice for you; let me see you take it.”

Tommy had never been deceived about medicine, so he sat up directly and took it in his mouth, but it tasted very badly, and he would have spit it out, only the doctor looked very fierce, and said, “Swallow it, quick,” in such a dreadful voice Tommy dared not do anything else.

The doctor went away laughting, as if it was a good joke to cheat a little boy; but Tommy lay down on his pillow, with his honest little heart full of indignation. By and by he said,

“Mamma, don’t doctors have to tell the troof, like other folks?”

Tommy’s mamma wished him to respect the doctor, but she thought it a great deal more important that he should respect the truth, so she told him that everybody was bound to speak the truth, and that it was not right to deceive sick people, or cheat little boys.

Tommy grew worse instead of better. There were the little red sposts on his neck, but no more measles came out, and his mamma began to grow alarmed. She wondered if the doctor knew so very much. He wasn’t her doctor, and she hadnot a particle of confidence in the good sense of any other doctor in the world but her doctor. What if Tommy should die? And then she remembered all his naughty little pranks, and wondered how she could have been so vexed with him about the mucilage, and thought, if he only got well, she would never be vexed with him again. About noon she sent Ellen for Uncle Jim, and begged him to telegraph to New Yort, for Tommy’s papa to come straight hom. Uncle Jim sat down by Tommy again, and began to question him. Uncle Jim was a very obstinate man, and he still believed Tommy had “eaten something.”

“Where was he yesterday?” he asked.

“In the house all day,” said mamma; “don’t you remember how it rained?”

“He was over to Billy’s, ma’am, about tea time,” said Ellen; “you mind you said he might go and play in the barn.”

“O, yes,” said mamma. “I had forgotten; but it was only half an hour or so, and he had on his rubbers.”

“Did you play in the water, Tommy?” asked Uncle Jim.

“N-no,” said Tommy, faintly; “only we tried to catch it in our moufs, where it runned down the roof, and it went down our backs, and felt awful funny.”

“I should think so,” said Uncle Jim; “and what else did you do?”

“Noffin; only played.”

“Played what?” What did you eat?” persisted Uncle Jim.

“Noffin,” said Tommy, “only I was Billy’s horse, and — O, yes, Uncle Jim, he gave me some shopped feed.”

“Chopped feed! what on earth was that?” asked Uncle Jim, glancing triumphantly at mamma.

“Why, turnuts and oats, shopped in a pail, and water mixed in,” said Tommy, with the pride of an inventor.

“Raw turnips and oats! there’s a delightful mixture for you,” exclaimed Uncle Jim; “and you at that stuff, did you, Tommy?”

“Y-e-e-s,” said Tommy, faintly, as if it were not quite pleasant to remember; “I used to like turnuts.”

Mamma looked perfectly horrified. Ellen pulled the corner of her apron and giggled as loud as she dared; but Uncle Jim leaned back in his chair and laughed a great, hearty, ringing laugh, until you would have thought the windows rattled.

“Anything more, Tommy?” he said, at last; “did you take condition powders?”

“No,” said Tommy, “but Billy rubbed my neck with gogling oil, ’cause I had the — the marrow bones.”

“Gargling oil! That accounts for the measles,” said Uncle Jim, laughing again; and then he wiped his eyes, and told Ellen to bring him a glass of warm water with a teaspoonful of mustard in it.

“Now, Tommy,” said he, “I want you do drink this all down; every drop.”

“Is it good?” wailed Tommy.

“Not very,” said Uncle Jim, taking a little sip; “it isn’t very bad, either; and if you will drink it all before I count ten, I’ll buy you a jack knife.”

Tommy drank very fast, and Uncle Jim had only counted eight, when the last drop was swallowed, and Tommy asked with a shudder when he should have the knife.

“To-night,” said Uncle Jim, watching Tommy curiously.

Perhaps you have taken warm water, with mustard in it. If you have, you know just what happened, and why Tommy lay upon his pillow about ten minutes afterward, looking red about the eyes, and whote about the mouth, but feeling a great deal better.

“Now, youngster,” said Uncle Jim, “I’m going straight after that knife, but I shall not get back till tea time, so if you go to sleep the time will pass before you know it.”

Tommy did go to sleep,a dn slept so long his mother began to sorry again, but by the time Uncle Jim came home, a sturdy little voice shouted from the bedroom,

“Uncle Jim! where’s my knife?”

“Ah!” said Uncle